Something To Believe In
(CD Justin Time)
With every new album I just know why Carmen Lundy is my favourite jazz singer. Her new album Something To Believe In is no exception to this rule. Carmen has not only a tremendous voice but she also writes fine songs and she has the courage to focus more on her self-written, original compositions than just going the safe way with doing covers of well-known or not so well-known standards. Or like Carmen puts it "Nothing is more important to my heart than preserving the greatest jazz tradition of all: Keeping jazz a living art. All the great figures of jazz did two things: they stayed planted in their roots, and turned thier eyes to the future. We wouldn't even remember the names of Ella and Miles if all they had done was cover the songs and imitate the styles of Lady Day and Satchmo. We revere them because they both preserved deep tradition and expanded on it, to the best of their abilities. This album is my way of trying to strike that delicate balance."
Mission accomplished, Carmen!
With her last album, This is Carmen Lundy, that focused more on the dark and sad side of life, Carmen has helped me through some troubled times, especially with Now That He's Gone and This Is The End Of A Love Affair. This time Carmen seems to be in a better mood, starting with In Love Again. Accompanied by her brother Curtis Lundy (bass), who also produced most of this album, Anthony Wonsey (piano), Victor Lewis (drums) and Mark Shim (tenor saxophone), In Love Again is a pleasant swinging song that brilliantly captures the spirit of a new love.
The title track, Something To Believe In, is just Carmen and Anthony Wonsey on piano and tells the story how a new love can lift you out of the deepest hole and give you "a reason to sing" amongst others. Really a goose-pimples-moment on record.
Windmills Of My Mind is one of the four cover versions here. With the inclusion of Regina Carter on violin and Mayra Casales on percussion Carmen breathes new life into this Legrand/Bergman tune and makes it her own.
If you ever wondered what happiness really is, then just listen to Carmen singing Happiness Is. Of course she doesn't mention one main reason for our happiness and that is listen to Carmen.
Certainly everybody knows a version of I Loves You Porgy from the Gershwin musical Porgy & Bess, but after listening to Carmen's version you may forget about previous versions anyway, because this is one of the most impressive performances of this particular song.
Vu Ja De is another fine example of Carmen's ability to write good songs and to sing them like nobody else. Vu Ja De is a twisting of the word déjà vu and after having listened to this song make sure you won't be talking of a vu ja de feeling next time you think you have already had a certain experience.
Add to this two other great original compostions (Wild Child and A Gift Of Love) plus an excellent update of Rodgers/Hammerstein's It Might As Well Be Spring (totally different from any other version I've heard so far) and a cover of Moody's Mood For Love, again with Regina Carter on violin, and you get another album on which Carmen surpasses herself (until her next album of course).
Something To Believe In gives you just that, i.e., the feeling that jazz is a living art that will live on with such talented artists like Carmen. Such a pity that she's still something's of jazz music's best kept secret and her name isn't mentioned in the first place when people talk about vocal jazz.
As any other Carmen Lundy album this is highly recommendable.
(For more information visit carmenlundy.com and justin-time.com. Lyrics to the cover versions can be found here.)
"You're right! Carmen Lundy is the best of all jazz singers and this album is just great!"
Frank, February 18, 2004.